Showing posts with label quotations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotations. Show all posts

01 May 2019

Lefty Propaganda


Nervous panelist in the Green Room, striving for wisdom.
by Robert Lopresti

As promised two weeks ago, I am providing here a collection of wise words from authors (and a few editors... see if you can spot 'em) who served as panelists at Left Coast Crime back in March.  You may remember that I have done this at past mystery hootenannies. 

As always, if anyone feels I misquoted them I would be happy to correct it.  If you would prefer to deny being there at all, I take all major credit cards.

Regrettably, all the context for these comments were lost in a tragic canoeing accident.  (Turns out moose can't paddle.  Who knew?)  Okay: wisdom commencing.


"This book is set in the 1590s.  Totally different from the 1580s." - Kenneth Wishnia

"This novel is set in San Diego.  There's a lot of beer in it." - Lisa Brackmann

"I think everyone in Scotland is funny.  I just moved to California so I could get paid for it."- Catriona McPherson

"I can't possibly write something serious, because I don't want to read it." -E.J. Copperman

"A first draft is crap by definition." -Laurie R. King

"In my second book I forgot to include a murder." - Cynthia Kuhn

"I avoid people as much as possible."  - Timothy Hallinan

"I picked Mumbai as a setting the way you would pick a lover." -Sujata Massey

"I had a great time writing it because I got to do a lot of research into the Texas taco scene." -Meg Gardiner

"Don't the spaceships always land in Pittsburgh?" - S.J. Rozan

"What could be more noir than Iowa?" -Priscilla Paton

"I wrote a book that many dozens of people read." - G.M. Malliet

"I once got into an argument with George Clooney about Janet Jackson's breasts." - Kellye Garrett

"The way I know that I really love a book is I lose time in it." - Chantelle Aimée Osman

"If you write novellas, write science fiction." - Kate Thornton

"This is actually true.  I got it off the internet." - Ovidia Yu

"It's not particularly funny if someone is behind you with a gun.  But if the gun has a hair trigger and the guy has the hiccups...." -Timothy Hallinan

"I have my thought back." - Judy Penz Sheluk

"I don't want to love your book as much as you do because if I do I'll be blind to what needs to be changed." - Chantelle Aimée Osman


"The subject of furry novels is a thing." - Lisa Alber

"Me and God talk.  We go way back."  - Laurie R. King

"Hit the spellcheck button.  My fifth grader can find it." -Stacy Robinson

"If you get in the 150,000 word range, go do something else for a while." - Kate Thornton

"You never had a blog critic or a Kirkus review like a defense lawyer whose client you're sending to prison." -James L'Etoile

"When you call a police officer and say you want to research guns, you have to preface it in a certain way." - Judy Penz Sheluk

 "I call myself a book therapist." - Zoe Quinton

"Our experiences are all of our senses." - Elena Hartwell

"I'm delighted to still be living in a country that puts a U in humour." - D.J. Wiseman

"There are a lot worse things to believe in than God." -Suzanne M. Wolfe


"Most of the criminals I work with don't read." -James L'Etoile

"I can bang a short story out in eighteen months." - Kate Thornton

"If you're writing about someplace you don't live, make the protagonist a visitor." - Elena Hartwell

"When I started writing police procedurals I found it was very therapeutic, because you can kill your boss." -Robin Burcell

"Then an auditor dies under mysterious circumstances, the best circumstances to die under." -John Billheimer

"If you have someone speaking in an accent in a mystery, call it literary." - Kate Thornton

"I studied comparative religion, which made sense because I am comparatively religious." -Laurie R. King

"One thing I love about writing about small towns is that I can legitimately have cell phones not work." - Elena Hartwell

"You can do research forever, because you don't have to write while you're doing research." - S.J. Rozan

"I lived in England for five years and I did not want to leave.  I was not forced to leave, I might add." -G.M. Malliet

"I was so good at living in California I could have moved to Portland." - Catriona McPherson

"It is really funny to go in a bar with six cops, because they're always going to want their backs to the wall, and there aren't that many walls." - R.T. Lawton



"The only thing better than holding a book is holding a book with your name on it." - Kate Thornton

"You have to be willing to give me your darling and know I will slash it to ribbons." - Stacy Robinson

"I'm exactly like my hero except she's young, tall, and has hands big enough to hold a gun right." - T.K. Thorne

"After  every first draft the flame goes out." -James L'Etoile

"You see those people wearing shirts that say I Love New York and it tells you they are not from New York." -Vinnie Hansen

"I'm a psychotherapist.  I heal by day and kill by night." - Bryan Robinson

"A short story needs to have one point and your reader needs to get it right through the heart." - Kate Thornton

"Morris dancing is next, right after the sex." - Jeffrey Siger

"I think there probably is humor in heaven, or earth wouldn't look like this." - Ovidia Yu

"I have the right to remain silent."  - R.T. Lawton

20 December 2017

Canadian Comments


Driven mad by/at Bouchercon 2017
by Robert Lopresti

As I said last week, I had a lovely time at Bouchercon in Toronto last month.  As usual at this kind of event, I copied down the words of wisdom that flowed from the mouths of my fellow scribes like stormwater over a levee.  Or some better simile.

I have provided a collection for your enlightenment.  If I quote you and you think I got it wrong (or just want to deny everything) let me know and I will be happy to make the correction.

Regrettably, the customs officials at the border confiscated the context for all these quotations, so you are on your own in that regard.  Here goes.

"Welcome to our country.  We don't have any crime here." - Cathy Ace

"I had to cut 65,000 words before I could start editing." - Robin Yocum

"When you are carrying a gun you act differently." - Jeff Siger

"I was a hermit so bathing was optional." - Donna Andrews

"If you want to write you sit down and write.  There's no plumber's block." - Alan Orloff

"Howard Engel invented the softboiled private eye." - Peter Robinson

"If there are stories you love, read them out loud." - Angel Luis Colón

"You can't write  a  thriller very effectively in England because you just go round and round." - Steph Broadribb

"It's not the ideal year to be the American Guest of Honour, but we do what we can." - Megan Abbott

"A lot of people ask if  I alienate readers by putting social issues in my books.  I say, that depends on whether you consider being Black a social issue.  I just consider it my skin."  - Danny Gardner

"I think of this as the fourth book in the Promise Falls trilogy, which suggests I can't count or don't understand the concept." - Linwood Barclay

"Welcome to the fashion faux paus hour.  Next up we have some bracelets from Indonesia." - Gary Phillips

"In a short story the destination is the destination." - James Lincoln Warren

"For all this to happen is like cooking dinner for your family and getting the James Beard Award.  It does not compute." -Joe Ide

"In Scotland we have an unarmed police force.  Well, no firearms.  Just batons and sarcasm." - Caro Ramsay


"We're professional failures and amateur successes." - Angel  Luis Colón

"I don' t like to write in public."  - Gary Phillips

"I'm confused.  My detective doesn't carry a handbag." - Brian Thiem

"Give your reader a reason to want to know what you're telling them." - Janet Hutchings

"There is no healing without humor." - Jess Lourey

"I grew up telling stories because I'm half Irish.  You could not come to the dinner table without a story." - Twist Phelan

"Instead of being Encyclopedia Brown I was Encyclopedia Black."  -Danny Gardner

"I'm having lunch with my editor.  I love saying that." -Robert Lopresti

"I'm going to write a book of English erotica.  It's called Fifty Shades of Beige." - Zoe Sharp
"No pressure.  It's just our careers." - Hank Phillippi Ryan

"When I was a girl my parents felt I experienced things too intently, so they got me to read The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, so I would find out what happens to girls who experience life too intently." - Sarah Paretsky

"I am an author and a lawyer, which is like a black belt in lying." - Reese Hirsch

"IQ is Sherlock in the hood.  Thank you for your time." - Joe Ide

"They changed all my H-O-N-O-R-S  to H-O-N-O-U-R-S."  -  David Maganya

"There is subtle humour in War and Peace, but it's Russian humor, so we don't get it."  -Donna Andrews

"I like it that if there are two things you don't want to do, you can choose which one you want to do least." - Jess Lourey

"I want to write a book called Water Finds A Way.  It's a manual for plumbers." -Karin Salvalaggio

"When you're standing in line to get local currency and the man in front of you thanks the ATM he's not odd, he's Canadian."  -Twist Phelan

"The idea of  a story is that you tell a series of lies that tell some kind of truth." - Johnny Shaw

04 November 2015

Bouchercon 2: I whine, others talk


by Robert Lopresti   Updated 11/4/ 7PM PST.

UPdated
photo (at Bcon) by Peter Rozovsky


When I wrote recently about the World Science Fiction Convention I talked about the controversy over the Hugo Award.  What follows could be considered my attempt to gin up a kerfuffle at Bouchercon.  But I think it is worth mentioning.

Ready for the controversy?  They gave away too many free books.

Yeah, I know.  Too many free books sounds like a contradiction.  But hear me out.

Those of us who write books are supposedly trying to sell the damned things.  If everyone is handing them out for free like campaign brochures, who's going to buy them?

Every registrant found six or so books in their bag.  The several hundred people who attended the librarian's tea each collected seven more.  And Sisters In Crime Smashwords - (see the Comments below) gave everyone a flash drive with - seriously - over 400 free books on it.  I suspect a lot of those were stories or novellas, but when the total is over 400 that hardly matters, does it?  No one is likely to buy books if they have hundreds of freebies on a stick, even though when they get home they may find that most of them are ones they have already read, or don't care to try.


Full disclosure: I had books on consignment with one of the dealers in the book room, and none sold, so you can call this sour grapes.  But really I am most concerned about the dealers themselves, some of whom traveled thousands of miles for the privilege of competing with people handing out free copies of the same books they were trying to sell.

At some point, enough is too much, and the Tragedy of the Commons takes over.  I understand that the people working on next year's Bouchercon in New Orleans are already thinking about this issue.  I wish them luck.

Finally, and if you read this blog at all you knew it was coming, here it is:  my quotation file from Bouchercon.  All of these were jotted down on the fly so apologies for any misattributions or misquotations.  And as for context, sorry.  I left it in my other suit.

"If I could write one book in first person it would be The Big Sleep." -Bill Crider

"The amateur sleuth restores the social order."  -Leslie Butewitz

"You are everybody in your book."  -Don Bruns

"I'm the most Jewish atheist you'll ever meet."  -Reed Farrel Coleman

"I dream about Philip Marlowe.  That's really embarrassing, which is why I'm telling this large group of people."   -Megan Abbott

"The best experience for someone who wants to write is not reading the masters but reading works by amateur, inferior writers."  -Lawrence Block

"I don't like Harry Potter.  I wouldn't have minded if  Voldemort got him on page three."  - Chantelle Aimee Osman.

"If I have one skill as a writer it is that I am really good at thinking of bad stuff."  Diane Chamberlain.

"Second person narrator isn't modern.  It's radio."  - Bill Crider

"Getting a thesis on Agatha Christie past the people at Harvard is not simple."  -Julianne Holmes

"Always invite dead authors to dinner parties.  They have no allergies or other dietary problems."  -Lawrence Block

"The best characters could go good or bad depending on the circumstances."  -Rhys Bowen


"I still haven't finished reading Orlando, and a teacher in college is waiting for the assignment."  -Karin Slaughter

"In hardboiled fiction you have the psycho ex machina."  -Reed Farrel Coleman

"When I started writing all the southern books were southern gothics, and the pigs ate mama."  - Margaret Maron

"Don't steal the reader's crayons."- Chantelle Aimee Osman.

"It took me about five minutes to sell out."  - Bill Crider


"I'm reaching the age where I can read a book again for the first time." -Lawrence Block

"Diehard is an example you can use for almost anything in life."- Chantelle Aimee Osman.

"You might say I'm on a mission to show that not all Canadians are as polite as we're cracked up to be." -Rob Brunet

"Some short stories make the mistake of thinking a short story is just a novel, but shorter." -Sean Doolittle

"While writing my novel in the library I felt a strange kinship to the man at the next desk who was talking to fictional characters."  -John Hart

"What causes despair and desolation in an academic setting?  Accreditation."  -B.K. Stevens

"I got a letter a long time ago complaining that I put a period after the Dr in Dr Pepper."  - Bill Crider

"Mysteries are worried about the past.  Thrillers are worried about the future." -Alexandra Sokoloff

"Quebec is not in the south?  Maybe you can  draw me a little map."  -Hank Philippi Ryan

"The woman I interviewed called herself a sociopath, rather than a psychopath, because it sounded less stabby."  -Mark Pryor

"Three out of four readers of my first book did not know who done it after they finished." - Catriona MacPhrson

"I write fantasy because I like doing the research."- Karen McCullough

"The author who started creating antagonists as rich and colorful characters was Ian Fleming." - Don Bruns

"This is the third panel at this conference on pace.  Are we not writing fast enough for you?"  -Alexandra Sokoloff

"I usually have a dead body in my books, but they've usually been dead for a few thousand of years." - Elly Griffiths

"I'm trying to find a properly smart-ass way to answer that."  -Lawrence Block

18 March 2015

Quotelandia


by Robert Lopresti

Panel on short stories at Left Coast Crime: Travis Richardson, Bharti Kirchner, Deborah J. Ledford, Brian Thornton, What's-his-name.  Photo by Teresa Wong, used by permission.
 
I spent the weekend in Portland, Oregon, at Crimelandia, the 25th Left Coast Crime. A good time was had by all, or at least by me. And just as I did at Bouchercon in November, I took notes on some of the words of wisdom that the panelists distributed, as well as some of the nonsense.  You get to decide which is which.  Apologies for any misquotes or misattributions.


"Watching cartoons is really good for writing sex scenes."  - Linda Joffe Hull


"We are living in the golden age of nonfiction."  -Brian Thornton
 

"What really hurt is that this reader trusted Wikipedia more than me."  - Steven Saylor
 

"(My character) believes that what separates us from the rest of the animals is our ability to accessorize." - Heather Haven

"She was built like sadness." - Johnny Shaw


"You can't just have your character say the kidney was kidney-shaped.'-Terry Odell
 

"As we used to say in the navy, maintain rigid flexibility."  - Janet Dawson 

"When I read violence and it doesn't hurt that makes me angry.  Because that's the only violence that's dangerous."  -Josh Stallings.

"We're all twelve year old boys at heart." - Holly West


"No one in Britain has enough money to put twenty writers in a room long enough to write Seinfeld." - Catriona McPherson



"My true stories are more like independent films."  -Johnny Shaw
 

"I went on the FBI tour today and found out I'm on the watch list." - Linda Joffe Hall
 

"I grew up in the seventies and my parents were so high that they couldn't start a commune.  So they just invited people over."  - Jess Lourey
 

"When you're doing research, never skip the footnotes."  -Jeri Westerson 

 "You can stand on any street corner in Bangkok and have five novels in ten minutes."  - Tim Hallinan


"I call the info-dump 'As you know, Bob.' For example,  'As you know, Bob, as forensic psychologists, we can...'" -Andrew E. Kaufman

"I live in Colorado and I'm probably one of four people who doesn't have a concealed weapon permit."  - Terry Odell


"Helen's work is critically acclaimed, best-selling, and award-winning, which is just greedy." -  Catriona McPherson


"When I started writing I used alcohol.  It diminished my anxiety completely.  It diminished other things too."  - Tim Hallinan

"I don't put years in my books because things change."  - Andrew E. Kaufman

"You're always on the psychoanalysis couch when you're writing these books."  - Steven Saylor
 

"Research is like fishing.  You never know what you're going to catch."  -V.M. Giambanco
 

"Adverbs are the date that wouldn't leave."  -Brian Thornton
 

"I'm supposed to repeat all questions, so: Parnell Hall's room number is 618."  -Jess Lourey
 

"Don't touch a menopausal woman and don't give her a gun." -Terry Odell
 

"They're not very interesting people before the murder."  - Frederick Ramsay
 

"If you can't laugh at your life, it's going to be a long life."  - Heather Haven.

"Adolescence is essentially a country-western song."  -Tim Hallinan

"Fun fact: Chris is wearing a training bra, but not in the traditional manner." - Simon Wood

"Good writing is good writing." - Josh Stallings

05 October 2011

In Context


by Robert Lopresti

Follow up to my lament below. I have found a way to put the hotlinks in bold.
Beloved readers;

You may have figured out that Blogger is giving us some problems. This is mortifying for me because I was the one who suggested using it as a platform. Here's the latest kink: I put a number of hotlinks in this article and they are there and working but they aren't underlined as is usually the case. You have to run a cursor over them to find the damned things. THEN the underline appears. I have no idea why. So think of it as a fun game! Or don't. Grumble.


Back at our Old Location I may have mentioned three or four hundred times in passing that I am a reference librarian, and on occasion I have pointed out a favorite reference book or two.  Today's volume is a special treat for me because it is a government document. That's right, it was compiled with your tax dollars, so thanks very much.

Respectfully Quoted was edited by Suzy Platt and published by the Library of Congress in 1989. And this is cool, you can search it full-text online. (Sorry about the annoying ad that pops up.)

Briefly, RQ is a book of quotations compiled by a branch of the Library of Congress called the Congressional Research Service. So what makes it different from all the other dictionaries of smart-babble?

Pithy party


Well, let's think for a moment about how such books are compiled. There are two main methods. Either some expert reads a whole lot of books and finds a line he likes, says "Ooh! That's pithy!" and writes it down, or some expert reads a whole lot of books and finds quotations that other people have used, and writes them down.

But this book was compiled differently. You see, the CRS works exclusively for congresspersons and their staffs. So each of the lines in this book was asked about by a representative or a senator.

Well, what lazy devils. Why did they bother a bunch of librarians? Why didn't they just look it up in Bartlett's like everybody else?

You see, this is what makes the book unique. Let's say you are a senator preparing a speech. You find the perfect quotation, witty, to the point, perfectly making your case while devastating your opponents. You make your speech to wild applause.

The next day a reporter calls to ask why you had chosen to quote a statement that had originally been made in defense of Stalin's purges. At that point you know this is not going to be a good day.

If you are a politician you want to know the context in which something was said before you quote it. You don't want to use a term like final solution, modest proposal, or even crusade without knowing what they mean to some people. (Of course, you may also use quotes to pass a message to some of your listeners, which is sometimes called a dog whistle. Some people claim Michelle Bachmann is a master of this technique.) It would also be nice to know that the quote is genuine, and not something made up entirely or attributed to someone who didn't say it. And that's what makes Respectfully Quoted unusual. Each quotation has been checked back to its source and often provided with a context.

Who said?

All of these fall into the category of "attributed to but we can't find them among their works."

"Elect us and we shall restore law and order." Often attributed to Adolf Hitler.

"We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Attributed to Ben Franklin.

"You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time." Attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

"England and America are two countries separated by the same language" Attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

“The finest Congress money can buy.” Mark Twain did not say it. He did write the following: "I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world." He intended to say this at a Fourth of July gathering in England but the US ambassador, General Schenck, decided that after his own wonderful speech no more were needed and cancelled Twain's. What a peach Schenck must have been to work for, huh?

Surprising sources

"Fifth Column." General:Emilio Mola used the term in the Spanish Civil War to describe those inside Madrid who would help the four columns of attackers outside.

"Founding Fathers." Apparently comes from that great speaker Warren Gamaliel Harding.


Odd but true


"These are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed." Who originated the famous motto of the mailman? Would you believe Herodotus? He was describing the messenger service of the Persian King Xerxes.

"You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?' I remember Ted Kennedy at his brother Bobby's funeral quoting Bobby quoting JFK with very similar words. But they come from George Bernard Shaw, who put them in the forked mouth of none other than Satan.

"I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." A boiled-down version of a a parable by medieval Arabic poet Sadi.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Attributed to Mark Twain, but Twain attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli.

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Vince Lombardi says he didn't say it. Some people say he did. Others says Red Sanders did.

"If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books in the British Museum." - Sir Arthur S. Eddington.

It's a fun book to browse. But don't quote me.